Gatlinburg in June: Summer Fun at Its Finest
Gatlinburg in June: The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is alive with the vibrant colors of summer, and the crowds begin to arrive. There’s an array of outdoor activities beckoning adventurers and families alike. With warm days, cool nights, and many special events and attractions, there’s no better time to visit this charming Tennessee town.
Hiking, Biking, and Exploring Galore
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park
June is the perfect time to explore the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most visited national park in the United States. With over 800 miles of trails, you’re spoiled for choice regarding hiking, biking, and horseback riding. Here are some of the must-visit spots:
- Clingmans Dome: At 6,643 feet, this is the highest point in the park, offering a breathtaking view of the Smokies. Take the half-mile paved trail to the observation tower and enjoy an incredible view of over 100 miles on a clear day.
- Mount LeConte: The third highest peak in the park, Mount LeConte is a challenging but rewarding hike with interesting views and an old-growth forest.
- Cades Cove Loop: Take the 11-mile one-way loop around Cades Cove for a scenic drive. You can spot wildlife, visit historical buildings, and even picnic at the designated picnic area.
- Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail: Another great way to explore the park, this 5.5-mile one-way loop road offers beautiful mountain forests, waterfalls, and historic structures.
For those who prefer to stay closer to downtown Gatlinburg, there are several trails within the city limits:
- Gatlinburg Trail: A relatively easy 1.9-mile trail perfect for the whole family, it meanders alongside the Little River and offers lovely water views.
- Twin Creeks Trail: A 4.5-mile round trip, this trail leads you to the historic Noah Ogle homestead remnants and a beautiful waterfall.
- Tricorner Knob: An 18-mile round-trip hike that takes you to one of the highest points in the park. Expect a challenging day hike with rewarding views.
Water Fun and Fishing Adventures
June’s warm temperatures make it the perfect time to cool off in Gatlinburg’s rivers and streams. With over 2,100 miles of streams within the park, you’ll find plenty of opportunities for fishing, swimming, and tubing:
- Fishing Trips: Gatlinburg offers an abundance of fishing spots for anglers of all skill levels. Check out fishing trips in Gatlinburg, TN, for some great options.
- Swimming Holes: Take a dip in one of the many natural swimming holes in the area, like Greenbrier, Metcalf Bottoms, or The Sinks.
- Tubing: For a fun and relaxing way to beat the heat, go tubing down the Little River. You can find tube rentals in nearby Townsend.
Thrilling Outdoor Activities
Outdoor enthusiasts will be in heaven with the range of activities available in and around Gatlinburg:
- Ober Gatlinburg: This popular mountain resort offers an array of activities, including an aerial tramway, alpine slide, mountain coaster, and even snow tubing near Gatlinburg during winter. You can enjoy the scenic chairlift, wildlife encounters, and mini-golf in June.
- Ziplining: Experience the thrill of ziplining through the Smokies at one of the many zipline adventure parks in the area.
- Whitewater Rafting: Take an exciting rafting trip down the Pigeon River, just a short drive from Gatlinburg. There are options for all skill levels, from gentle float trips to adrenaline-pumping rapids.
Downtown Gatlinburg: A Hub of Entertainment;’
In June, downtown Gatlinburg is busy with fun events for the whole family:
- Free Parkway Trolley: Hop on the Gatlinburg Trolley System for free rides throughout the downtown area. The open-air trolleys run from early June to mid-August, making it easy to explore the streets of Gatlinburg without worrying about parking.
- Smoky Mountain Tunes & Tales: Enjoy live performances by local musicians and storytellers as they roam the streets of Gatlinburg each evening during the summer months.
- Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies: This popular destination offers hours of entertainment for the entire family, with interactive exhibits, shark tunnels, and touch pools. It’s also a great escape from the heat on hot days.
Fun for the Whole Family in Pigeon Forge
Just a short drive from Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge offers even more entertainment options for families:
- Dollywood: This beloved theme park, founded by Dolly Parton, offers thrilling rides, live shows, and delicious Southern cuisine. Don’t miss Dollywood’s Summer Festival in June, featuring extended hours and nightly fireworks.
- Dollywood’s Splash Country: Cool off on a hot day at this popular water park, complete with thrilling water slides, wave pools, and a lazy river.
- The Island in Pigeon Forge: This entertainment complex is home to attractions like the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel, The Island Ropes Course, and The Island Show Fountains. Check out fun things to do in Pigeon Forge with kids for more ideas.
Nature’s Light Show: The Elkmont Fireflies
One of the most magical events in Gatlinburg during June is the annual synchronized firefly display in the Elkmont section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Thousands of fireflies put on a mesmerizing show for a few weeks each year as they light up the night in perfect unison. Access to the Elkmont Fireflies event is limited and requires a lottery system for parking passes, so be sure to plan.
The Weather in June: What to Expect
June is one of the warmest months in Gatlinburg, with average temperatures ranging from the mid-60s to the low 80s. The higher elevations of the park can still be quite cool, so it’s a good idea to pack layers for outdoor adventures. June also tends to be one of the wetter months, with an average of 7 days of rain. Keep an eye on the weather forecast and be prepared with rain gear.
Where to Stay and Eat in Gatlinburg
When it comes to accommodations, you’ll find a wide range of options in Gatlinburg:
- Cabins: For a more secluded and cozy experience, consider renting one of the many cabins in Tennessee. You can find options to suit all budgets and group sizes.
- Hotels and Resorts: If you prefer the convenience and amenities of a hotel or resort, you’ll find plenty of options in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.
As for dining, Gatlinburg offers an array of delicious options to satisfy your cravings:
- Breakfast: Start your day with a hearty breakfast at one of the best breakfast restaurants in Gatlinburg.
- BBQ: When in the South, you can’t miss the mouthwatering BBQ offerings at local joints like Delauder’s BBQ or Bennett’s Pit Bar-B-Que.
- Local Favorites: For a taste of the local cuisine, try popular spots like The Peddler Steakhouse, The Park Grill, or The Cherokee Grill.
Top Places to Stay in Gatlinburg: From Resorts to Cozy Cabins
After a day of exploring, nothing is better than retreating to a cozy cabin nestled in the mountains. Gatlinburg offers a variety of cabin rentals, ranging from rustic log cabins to luxurious mountain retreats. Many cabins feature fire pits, hot tubs, and stunning mountain views—perfect for a relaxing winter getaway.
Gatlinburg offers a variety of accommodations to suit every traveler’s taste and budget. Here are some of the top-rated places to stay in Gatlinburg, including luxurious resorts and charming vacation rentals:
Margaritaville Resort Gatlinburg is a 4-star resort located on the main parkway (Hwy 441) in Gatlinburg. We have stayed at this resort several times, and while it’s not the cheapest resort in Gatlinburg, it’s by far our favorite.
This tropical-inspired retreat offers well-appointed rooms and suites, an indoor and outdoor pool, a fitness center, and an on-site spa.
The resort’s convenient location across the street from Anakeesta makes it a perfect base for exploring the best of Gatlinburg.
Margaritaville Gatlinburg: A Tropical Escape in the Heart of the Smokies
After an action-packed day at Anakeesta, unwind and relax at Margaritaville Gatlinburg, a tropical oasis just a short walk from the mountaintop theme park. Inspired by the laid-back lifestyle of singer Jimmy Buffett, Margaritaville Gatlinburg offers a unique dining and entertainment experience that transports you to a tropical paradise.
Dining at Margaritaville Gatlinburg
The Margaritaville Restaurant offers a delectable menu featuring a variety of island-inspired dishes, such as the signature Cheeseburger in Paradise, Volcano Nachos, and Coconut Shrimp. Kids will love the diverse options on the Little Parakeet’s menu, ensuring that even the pickiest eaters find something they enjoy.
Try one of Margaritaville’s famous frozen concoctions or specialty cocktails, like the classic Margarita or the refreshing Rum Runner. Non-alcoholic options are also available, making Margaritaville a great destination for the entire family.
Map of the best deals on top hotels and VRBOs in Gatlinburg:
Wildlife Watching in the Smokies
June is an excellent time for wildlife enthusiasts to visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The warm weather brings a variety of animals out to play, making it easier to spot them in their natural habitat. Some popular destinations for wildlife watching include:
- Newfound Gap Road: This scenic drive offers numerous overlooks and pull-offs where you can spot deer, black bears, and even wild turkeys.
- Cataloochee Valley: Home to one of the park’s most prominent elk populations, this remote valley is a great place to observe these majestic creatures, especially during early morning and late afternoon hours.
- Abrams Falls: A moderate 5-mile round-trip hike will take you to this popular waterfall, where you can spot salamanders and other aquatic creatures.
Remember to maintain a safe distance from wildlife and follow the National Park Service guidelines for responsible wildlife viewing.
Cool Off at Gatlinburg’s Swimming Pools
If you’re looking for a more relaxing way to beat the heat during your Gatlinburg vacation, consider spending some time at one of the many swimming pools in the area. Many hotels and resorts offer pools for guests, and some even have indoor options for those rare rainy days.
For a more immersive experience, check out Dollywood Splash Country in nearby Pigeon Forge. This water park features a variety of slides, pools, and splash zones suitable for young children and thrill-seekers alike.
Take in the Views from Gatlinburg’s SkyLift Park
For a bird’s-eye view of the Smokies and the surrounding area, take a ride on the Gatlinburg SkyLift. This chairlift takes you to the top of Crockett Mountain, where you can enjoy panoramic views of downtown Gatlinburg, the Great Smoky Mountains, and beyond. You’ll find the SkyDeck and the famous SkyBridge, North America’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge at the summit. It’s an experience you won’t want to miss!
Enjoy Gatlinburg’s Unique Shopping Scene
The streets of Gatlinburg are lined with various unique shops and boutiques, perfect for picking up souvenirs, gifts, or a special treat for yourself. From handmade crafts to local delicacies, you will surely find something that catches your eye. Some popular shopping destinations include:
- The Village Shops: This European-inspired shopping area features a collection of 27 unique boutiques and eateries, perfect for a leisurely afternoon of shopping and snacking.
- Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community: Located just a few miles from downtown Gatlinburg, this historic 8-mile loop is home to North America’s largest independent artisans. Here you can find everything from pottery and paintings to hand-carved wooden furniture.
Challenge Yourself on the Appalachian Trail
If you’re an experienced hiker looking for a challenge, consider tackling a section of the famous Appalachian Trail during your visit to Gatlinburg. The trail passes through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and offers a variety of terrain, from steep climbs to more leisurely stretches. One popular and challenging hike is the 13.9-mile round-trip trek to Charles Bunion, which provides stunning views of the Smokies.
Go Fishing in the Little River
If you’re an angler at heart, the Little River offers a fantastic opportunity for fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. With over 2,100 miles of streams, the park is home to diverse fish species, including rainbow trout, brown trout, and brook trout. Remember to check the park’s fishing regulations before you cast your line and ensure you have a valid Tennessee or North Carolina fishing license.
Explore the Old-Growth Forests of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to some of the most extensive old-growth forests in the United States. These ancient woodlands offer a glimpse into the past and showcase the region’s incredible biodiversity. Some trails that take you through old-growth forests include the Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail, the Albright Grove Loop, and the Meigs Creek Trail.
Late April to Early June: Experience the Spring Wildflowers
While June is a wonderful time to visit Gatlinburg, you might also consider coming earlier in the year to witness the spectacular display of spring wildflowers in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The park is awash in color from late April to early June, with more than 1,500 flowering plants putting on a show. Guided wildflower walks and the annual Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage are popular ways to immerse yourself in this natural spectacle.
Stay Connected: Weather Stations and Phone Numbers
During your visit to Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you must stay informed about the local weather conditions, as they can change rapidly. Various weather stations in the area provide up-to-date information, such as the NOAA National Weather Service. In case of emergency or other urgent situations, it’s also a good idea to have important phone numbers on hand, like the National Park Service’s emergency line (865-436-1230) and local authorities.
When is the best time to visit Gatlinburg?
While the best time to visit Gatlinburg depends on your preferences, June is an excellent choice for outdoor enthusiasts, families, and those looking to enjoy the warm summer months. Remember that peak season in Gatlinburg typically runs from June through early August, so expect more crowds and higher rates during this time.
What is the weather like in Gatlinburg in June?
June is one of the warmest months in Gatlinburg, with average temperatures ranging from the mid-60s to the low 80s. Higher elevations in the park can still be quite cool, so it’s a good idea to pack layers for outdoor adventures. June also tends to be one of the wetter months, with an average of 7 days of rain.
Are there any special events in Gatlinburg in June?
Gatlinburg hosts various special events and attractions in June, including the Smoky Mountain Tunes & Tales, Dollywood’s Summer Festival, and the annual Elkmont Fireflies synchronized display. You’ll also find free parkway trolley rides in downtown Gatlinburg during the summer.
Is June a good time to hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park?
June is an excellent time for hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, thanks to warm temperatures, abundant wildflowers, and various trails to explore. However, be prepared for rain and pack appropriate gear, as June can also be one of the wetter months.
Gatlinburg in June is a magical time, with warm days, cool nights, and abundant activities and events for the whole family to enjoy. From exploring the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to taking advantage of the free parkway trolley and enjoying live music on Gatlinburg’s streets, there’s something for everyone during this special time of year. Don’t miss the chance to experience Gatlinburg’s beauty, charm, and excitement in June!